Dokken's Riff-rockin' Report From The Sun
by Martin Popoff
That purest of riffed-up hair metal carry-overs (damn, that sounded bad, but heck, it's a good thing!) Dokken is back with a no-nonsense, no-bloat live album designed to show off the band's ass-kicking guitarist Reb "George wha?!" Beach. Live From The Sun contains eleven tracks of mostly sizzled summer hits from the harder days of hair, a couple of newies, and a whole lotta one take, a situation that could be no other way.
Our man Don explains. "Beast From The East (double live, heavily doctored, '88) was a combination of three shows we did in Japan. And we had the luxury, like everybody does with a live album, of picking the best performances. But when we did this one, we only had one shot, which I wasn't too happy about. We wanted to do two nights in two cities and record and pick the best performances. If we only do one show, and something is a dog, or we don't have a good night, or I blow clams on one of the songs, there's nothing we can do. And on a live album, like a lot of people have done, obviously you go into the studio and fix things. So we could have gone in and did some overdubs, fixed the vocals, the guitars, but we were filming it to come out on DVD. So I can't fix the vocals because if I fix them, you see on the DVD that it's not real. You see on film that it's out of sync. It will be phony. So it put a lot of pressure on us to do one show, one set, and that's the way it is. The only thing that isn't done in one take is the very first song 'Erase The Slate'. The whole show is what it is, and there are mistakes, and it's not perfect. But at the end of the show, the very first song, we had to do over again. It wasn't any fault of ours. At the end of the show, they called us up on the stage and they said 'for some reason when the tape rolled, it didn't record all the tracks.' And I said, 'what do you want us to do? The show is over.' So we walked off stage, and I had to walk back on stage when the audience was already leaving and said, 'hey, we're going to record the first song again. If you guys want to hang around, fine, if you want to leave, that's cool too.' So a couple thousand of people hung around and we did it again."
What's it like having Reb Beach standing there next to you, interpreting these tracks? "Well, it's interesting because Reb idolized George. He thought of George as a guitar hero. So it's interesting because he looked up to George and his style was reminiscent of George's yet he realized this: that he doesn't play like George. He said, 'I know how to play George's style and I've learned his licks because I was totally into him.' He's much younger than George. When he did his first Winger album, he was 18 years old and he said he listened to Dokken every day, Under Lock And Key, when he was making that album. So he tried to copy all of George's licks. He was also into all the other guitar heroes, like Eddie Van Halen. So it was kind of strange. Not only was he coming into the band as a guitar player, but he was coming into the band as a fan."
Dokken's Riff-rockin' Report From The Sun Page 2